Thursday Feb 28, 2008

Be a Destination, Not a Gateway

Well, the cat is out of the bag. I can now blog about the major initiative that has been monopolizing my time for the past six months.

This morning, Slashdot picked up the post by BobB-nw: "Telecommunication companies need to go beyond just providing bandwidth and look into acquiring Internet destination sites that are heavily trafficked, says Sun Microsystems Chairman Scott McNealy. "I have explained to every telco that either you become a destination site, or the destination site will become a telco," McNealy said at a news conference at Sun Microsystems' Worldwide Education and Research Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday."

I am the guy in Sun's Americas Software Practice tabbed with leading the effort to make Scott's vision a reality for our large telecom customers. If you were here with me at Sun's Immersion Week today, you could attend my class for Sun systems engineers on the topic of Project Destination.

Project Destination is a Sun Microsystems initiative to give reality to Scott's vision that: Telcos must become "Destination Brands" or they will be only "Network Gateways" to companies that are Destination Brands (note that I said "Brand", not "Site." The term "site" is too limiting. We are talking about services delivered across the spectrum of online devices - phones, TVs and web browsers.)

A Destination Brand will:

  • Attract and retain subscribers to a brand
    • High perceived value: what subscribers want, when they want it
    • On demand information, media and online participation
  • Deliver rich user experience
    • Easy to use, responsive, innovative
    • Highly personalized - context based
    • Visually and aurally stimulating
    • Blend media types - photo/video/sound/music/text
  • Integrate user experience across three screens
    • Mobile device, desktop/laptop and TV
  • Enable new business models
    • Subscription, personalized advertising, transactions, service aggregation, managed services ...

What in the world does this have to do with Identity? Identity is at the very heart of delivering highly personalized, context aware services to subscribers on their choice of device. I like to call it "Identity-enabled Service Orchestration." Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I discuss issues and solutions in more detail.

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Thursday Nov 29, 2007

Federation - A Critical Business Enabler for Service Providers

Most discussions about Identity federation treat lightly the real business reasons for implementing federation while focusing primarily on technical issues. While the technology is vitally important, federation will not be widely adopted until business leaders gain a firm grasp of the real business justification for implementing federation technology and associated legal agreements. To that end, I recently prepared a presentation entitled, "Federation: A Critical Enabler for Dynamic Business," focused on why service providers should implement Identity federation.

Let me share with you a list of what I consider to be the top nine reasons a service provider should leverge Identity federation to enable business value:

Identity Federation enables:

  • Enhanced User experience - simplifes and enriches user experience through SSO, account linkage and service integration
  • Privacy protection - prevents exchange of sensitive credentials and user attributes
  • Service aggregation - enables access to multiple service partners
  • Content delivery - enables delivery of content from multiple sources
  • Advanced advertising - increases ad value through analytics of data from multiple sources
  • Rapid time to market - enables rapid linkage to service and content sources
  • Cost avoidance - enables service integration at lower cost than non-standard methods
  • Leveraged business expansion - enables accelerated growth in delivery capacity and subscriber demand
  • Foundation for future innovation - enables advanced automation

During the weeks ahead, I will address these topics in more detail. I welcome your input and critique.

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Discovering Identity was founded on in May 2005 as a means of documenting my exploration of the field of Identity and Access Management. In February, 2010, I switched to hosting the blog at In March 2012, I began posting Oracle-related information in both places.

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